A pilot study of the technical and oncologic feasibility of thoracoscopic esophagectomy with extended lymph node dissection in the prone position for clinical stage I thoracic esophageal carcinoma

Hiroyuki Daiko, Mitsuyo Nishimura
Surgical Endoscopy 2012, 26 (3): 673-80

BACKGROUND: Thoracoscopic esophagectomy in the prone position (TSEP) without thoracotomy is more invasive than right transthoracic esophagectomy (TTE). However, TTE and TSEP have not been compared in terms of technical and oncological feasibility for thoracic esophageal carcinomas of the same stage.

METHODS: Fifty-nine patients with clinical stage I esophageal cancer underwent esophagectomy with three-field lymph node dissection from 2000 through 2010, 30 patients underwent right TTE through 2008, and 29 patients underwent TSEP from 2008 through 2010. TSEP was performed with four ports from 2008 through 2009 (13 patients) and with five ports--four conventional ports and a 5 mm camera port for the upper mediastinum--from 2009 (16 patients). We retrospectively evaluated the technical and oncologic feasibility of TSEP with extended lymph node dissection for clinical stage I thoracic esophageal carcinoma by comparing surgical outcomes between TTE and TSEP and examined the historical improvements and current status of TSEP, including port placement.

RESULTS: All 29 patients who underwent TSEP with three-field lymph node dissection achieved complete resection, and in the 13 patients followed up for more than 1 year, there were no surgery-related postoperative deaths and no recurrence. No significant difference was found between TTE and TSEP in the mean number of dissected mediastinal lymph nodes, amount of blood loss, incidence of postoperative complications, mean postoperative hospital stay, or rate of complete resection or locoregional control, but the mean duration of thoracic procedure was significantly longer for TSEP than for TTE. For TSEP, the incidence of complications was lower and the postoperative hospital stay was shorter with five ports than with four ports.

CONCLUSIONS: TSEP with extended lymphadenectomy is a feasible and appropriate surgical technique for clinical stage I thoracic esophageal carcinoma. We believe that its oncological feasibility for advanced esophageal carcinoma also will be demonstrated.

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